Becker Recommends the Book with Some Stiff Criticism

Poor Bill. He’s going to have to suffer through another review of Now Is Gone, this time from Rich Becker.

Before I highlight Rich’s points, I did want to remind folks one more time that on Saturday, February 16 from 1-5 p.m., I will moderate four consecutive one hour sessions on Now Is Gone for the my ooVoo day project. Participants get an autographed copy of Now Is Gone.

If you can’t catch me on the road, this is the perfect opportunity to have a deep dive on social media and how it can benefit your organization.Here’s how it works, visit the my ooVoo day project site and sign up. You’ll download the software (for Mac or PC – both are still in beta).

Rich’s Criticism

Rich thought the book worked: “Now Is Gone is a book that attempts a daunting task and mostly succeeds. It captures new media conversations by communication leaders as it occurred. It’s something David Meerman Scott did with The New Rules of Marketing and PR. For this reason alone, Now Is Gone is exactly what it says it is: a primer on new media for executives and entrepreneurs, people who are starting to realize they need to catch up on several months or years worth of conversation.”

But did have some strong criticism. First up was the use of an informal poll he ran in Chapter 3:

Sure, poll respondents called the Wal-Mart flog the biggest social media transgression to date (36 percent), but only 23 people voted. Nine opinions is hardly as valid as it seems in print.

What’s also missing is that I followed up on the subject, stating that the poll participants were a bit off: John Mackey and Julie Roehm had much larger lapses in ethical judgments. The Wal-Mart flog merely stands out because it was perpetrated by a number of people who knew better, and could have been avoided by the tiniest of disclosures. This doesn’t really detract from the book; it’s just something to keep in mind.

And then there’s the common criticism of the book’s rough copy (a result of the book being rushed to market), and the fact that it really is new media. Meaning that some elements may be inaccurate or overblown in importance as new developments occur.

These latter two criticisms strike me as true. I finally re-read Now Is Gone for the first time in five months. The writing has numerous grammatical errors as a result of our rush to market.

While I still feel right about rushing to market and providing accurate timely info to the marketplace, its effectiveness reminds me of Patton. A bloody, ugly execution that while effective, lacks delicacy and cleanness. True fans of prose (identified by public proclamations of Eats, Shoots and Leaves) will be annoyed. I know I was when I read the word “brand” three times in the first sentence of page 40. Feel free to add your favorite gripe in the comments.

And yes, the conversation has evolved. Though I was pleasantly surprised by how relevant a good portion of the text is. If written today instead of nine months ago, I would add more on measurement, blogger relations, more industry-specific social network communities, and additional information on the symbiotic relationship between traditional and new media. Brian Solis has also indicated a desire for an updated text.

Of course,we have discussed these specific topics in unrelated follow-up posts on Now Is Gone, PR 2.0 and the Buzz Bin and. If there’s a second edition, the text will be re-edited, and updated with the latest social media marketing strategies and information.

P.S. (added 2/15) In addition, I also agree with Chris Thilk and Chip Griffin’s criticism that book uses too many absolutes in the form of musts. More Patton-esque writing. Strong suggestions would have been more productive.

Also, it should be noted that every single person that has taken the time to review the book  — critical or not — has recommended the book.  The total number of reviews including Amazon readers is well over 50 now.